In this week’s Restaurant Report Card, known for their legendary skillet-fried chicken and family-style homemade fixings, Juniper Valley Ranch opens for their 71st season on Friday night.

It’s a fried chicken family tradition, just south of Colorado Springs, at 16350 S. Highway 115.

Family employee Preston Dickey said, “It’s all about the cast iron skillet and we use really old, big cast iron skillets that are probably older than I am.”

Juniper Valley Ranch is five generations in the making.

Dickey’s sister, Olivia Patterson, who also works at the restaurant said, “My grandparents started it in 1951 and my dad has had it for almost the last 40 years.”

Now, 71 years later, they are still cooking the same simple menu. Patterson works the front of house, Dickey makes the pies, and their dad mans the kitchen.

“A lot of people say it’s like eating at your grandma’s house, and I think that really encompasses it,” Patterson said.

Reservations are required and everything is served family-style.

Patterson said, “I love watching people who have never been here before, for the first time being like ‘can you pass me the biscuits?’. It’s kind of uncomfortable at first but it always surprises me because so many families don’t sit down at tables together anymore and share the same meal.”

“You have to share here. You’ve got to pass the bowl and kind of break bread with the people you’re with,” said Dickey.

They are a family feeding families.

Dickey said, “People come back every year and we’ve become such an important part of people’s families and they’ve become a part of our family, too.”

And they are doing it in the same exact dining room as the generations before them.

“Even some of the tools I use, I know that my grandma used and, you know, that’s really special,” Dickey said.

Juniper Valley Ranch is honoring their past, while carrying it into the present.

Patterson said, “I think it’s just warmth, and I think when people are here they feel that too.”

Juniper Valley Ranch opens for the 71st season on Friday, April 1st at 5:00 p.m.

Call 719-576-0741 to reserve your table.